Friday, September 14, 2012

Your Friend Jesus

19 “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’”. . . . — Matthew 11:19 (NASB95)

Where human frailty once served as a reason for me to withdraw from the church, with its unruly and divergent congregants, this is now what compels me back to spiritual community. I had overlooked one essential factor—that I am as finite and flawed as everyone else. —Carmen Renee Berry

One of the most striking statements about Jesus is that he was a friend of sinners. That is an amazing idea. Jesus was God in the flesh. His own life was flawless, no sin at all. He lived a pure, righteous life. He wasn’t like you, or me, in that scripture teaches that he was sinless.

Now, he relates to us because he was tempted in all the same ways we are tempted, so he understands the potential and power that sin can exert. But neither you, nor I, can claim to be sinless. We have failed. In fact, we fail all the time. Don’t let some Christians fool you into thinking they are above the same faults as anyone else. We sin. Present, past, or future, we sin.

Now, much of the time, we seem pretty understanding about all this sin. People are very “forgiving,” when others make a mess out of life. That is, until those people sin against us. Then, forgiving becomes very hard, sometimes impossible. It’s not unusual for people to remember a sin that hurt them personally years after it happened - sometimes a lifetime! It’s different when somebody sins against you, or me.

That’s what makes Jesus such a unique person. You see, since Jesus is God’s son, all our sins are sins against him, personally. He could take it pretty hard. He could take our sins exactly like we take the sins of others committed against us. Instead, Jesus comes over and puts his arm around us and treats us like we’re friends.
Don’t misunderstand. Don’t get the idea that Jesus likes our sins, or thinks they are unimportant. That isn’t true. Our sins just kill him! Well. They did. You don’t think our sins hurt him? Being nailed to a cross and dying there hurt badly. The worst hurt may not have been physical at all, it may have been bearing our sins on that cross.

If I could tell you one thing that might change your life, it would be that Jesus is your friend. Despite your sins. Because of your sins. He loves you so much. Remember that.